Europe

Bertie Ahern warns that the UK Protocol bill could threaten Ireland’s position in the EU single market

Former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern says there is a real danger that Ireland could become semi-independent of the EU single market if the UK Protocol bill is enacted.

He warned that if the UK government pushes for a bill to abolish most of the Northern Ireland Protocol, the republic may have to face a check on its goods to enter the EU single market.

Ahan said it was a last resort, but the scenario was “close to a step or two” after the law was released.

Last week, the British government submitted a bill in Westminster. It empowers the minister to invalidate much of the post-Brexit trading system agreed with the EU in the withdrawal negotiations.

When asked if Ireland was at risk of becoming semi-independent from the single market, Ahan said “yes.”

Ahan told the International Institute for European Studies (IIEA): If you don’t have a border, you need to be in the harbor.

“I think and tremble, and two years ago, when checks were limited, I saw what the delay was at the port and other ports.

“Imagine the difficulties that Irish traders face.

“If that continues and the bill is passed, if the EU says” I can’t go anywhere here and need to check “, they will eventually be in the single market.

“They have to keep the line that there are breakwaters around the single market, and if we want to stay in the single market it’s really difficult because you have to check.

“I think this is a last resort and I don’t want to see it, but I’m worried that I’m one or two steps closer to last week’s position.”

Ahan also said that unilateral action was “very useless” in building relations and credibility between the UK and the EU.

“It is central to the implementation of the Protocol and is a partnership not only within this country but also with the European Union as stipulated in the agreement,” he added.

“The UK’s international reputation as a trusted partner is also an issue.

“In Northern Ireland, Brexit continues to exacerbate political tensions within executives, ending North-South cooperation last September, which has virtually no cooperation on the Holy Friday Agreement since last summer. That means. “

He told IIEA that it is clear that Northern Ireland, especially much of the business community, wants the protocol to work well and understand its benefits.

However, the Democratic Unionist Party has blocked the establishment of new ministers following last month’s parliamentary elections in protest of the protocol that created economic barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of Britain.

The party said that drafting the bill was not enough to convince the government to return to the administration, saying that it was necessary to confirm the concrete results when removing the so-called Irish Sea border.

However, Mr Ahan said Northern Ireland companies see the protocol as their help.

“This Protocol offers real opportunities for Northern Ireland with access to the Single Market,” he added.

He was also critical of the relationship between Republic and British officials.

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“It was all very negative. In my understanding, relations are poor at the public, parliamentary, ministerial, and head of state levels, which is very disappointing,” Ahan added. I did.

“We think the atmosphere is in a toxic position right now. I think it’s possible to find a solution in every negotiation, I never believe that things are impossible. However, negotiations require two aspects. “

He described Boris Johnson as a “wise man,” but claimed that the Prime Minister had no “great interest” in negotiations with the EU.

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https://www.breakingnews.ie/brexit/ireland-could-be-semi-detached-from-single-market-over-protocol-bill-warns-ahern-1323155.html Bertie Ahern warns that the UK Protocol bill could threaten Ireland’s position in the EU single market

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